[Solved] Spam - straight to delete instead of quarantine?

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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby RoryOF » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:14 pm

I came across this site
http://www.stopforumspam.com/
which offers an API to query user name (and/or IP?) against their database of reported users. Might this offer a solution?
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:17 pm

Again, mod (phpBB module) needed...
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby acknak » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:29 pm

My suspicion is that they were trying a posting flood in the hope that some of the spam posts would get overlooked, or that the moderators/admins would give up, or at least log off for a few hours. Without the admin functions to deal with a user's posts en masse, it would have been a really big task to get rid of thousands of posts and dozens of users.

Also, the current wave seems to be for streaming of live sports video or current tv shows, shows that have a very short market lifetime. They may not be interested at all in search engines/SEO, but in simply getting people to see the spam and click to watch the stream. In that case, they may just want to get as many posts out as quickly as possible, while the live sporting event is happening and people want to watch it.

If that's indeed what's happening, then we'll have more floods, whenever there's some very popular event (Olympics this summer...?) and I doubt they'll care about links or any other restriction. I suspect we'll have to prevent them from posting at all.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby RoryOF » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:39 pm

I sat here all of the afternoon and zapped any Spam poster as soon as I saw him, then directly deleted his posting(s). I barred some IP numbers with multiple spammers for a few hours. The match which most spams tried to stream is in about 75 minutes, I think, so perhaps this flood will end, but as acknak says, another may replace it.

If we discuss detailed in depth anti-spam measures, perhaps it might be best by PM or on a private channel, so as not to reveal what we do.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby floris v » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:15 pm

Would that be Barcelona vs. Chelsea? I'm getting them all over me in the old forum. ;) And the homepage there will still reflect the spam after I deleted it. :(
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby RoryOF » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:26 pm

I think so. I don't do football; Barcelona for me is Gaudi and Woody Allen, Chelsea is a Flower Show.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby floris v » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:41 pm

Same for me, except Woody Allen.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:22 pm

RoryOF wrote:If we discuss detailed in depth anti-spam measures, perhaps it might be best by PM or on a private channel, so as not to reveal what we do.

I don't think we have to.

First I'm not sure that they would follow this discussion. Second, the target is either to disable the feature they use to post their spam (so there would be no point anymore registering) or to ease the moderators job so that banning would be just a couple of clicks.

The most boring is the count of real users. There have been so many spammers since the beginning of this year that I'd to remove them from the statistics given by the board to get a true picture (next chart will reflect that in the monthly report topic).

For the record, here is what it looks like when we compare the registered members here and at oooforum (haven't updated it since last summer):
Members.png
Scale is the same for both forums.
Members.png (5.66 KiB) Viewed 11011 times

Guess when the spammers started?
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby kingfisher » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:35 am

acknak wrote:If that's indeed what's happening, then we'll have more floods, whenever there's some very popular event (Olympics this summer...?) and I doubt they'll care about links or any other restriction. I suspect we'll have to prevent them from posting at all.


I agree. Procrastinating and pussyfooting won't achieve anything.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby thomasjk » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:20 am

Kingfisher wrote:
I agree. Procrastinating and pussyfooting won't achieve anything.

The solution needs to be very aggressive. There are 7 new spam posts as I write this. Its only a matter of time before the floodgates open again.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby kingfisher » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:07 am

By the by, the extensions site is also being spammed. Spam here and there has been discussed on the dev list.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:20 am

So I take that the consensus is to moderate the first posts of NRU until we can implement smart anti-spam extension to phpB, is that OK?
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby RoryOF » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:23 am

Yes - I'll do whatever must be done.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby floris v » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:35 am

Maybe appoint some more mods temporarily?
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby RoryOF » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:40 am

I think that would be a good idea, but no need for temporarily; if they are trusted enough to be mods for a short time, they can be permanent.

 Edit: It would be good to have Mods who were geographically distributed - we should have some from Australia/New Zealand, SE Asia, India - as this would help towards 24 hour coverage. 
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:14 am

I was also thinking about new moderators.
probe 1 proposed to be one, so I've promoted him immediately (see the Moderation team update topic in the Private section). He will cover the SE Asia time zone, it should help a lot!
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby floris v » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:37 pm

I don't mind helping out too, it's just that I hesitated to offer it because I can be quite ill behaved at times and you don't want any of that. :roll:
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby kingfisher » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:08 pm

Hagar Delest wrote:So I take that the consensus is to moderate the first posts of NRU until we can implement smart anti-spam extension to phpB, is that OK?


Sounds good to me.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby FJCC » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:25 pm

I am not opposed to moderating posts from new users if it decreases the moderator work load. If the spammer are deterred from trying to post, then it is probably worth it at this time. If the spammers carry on bombarding the moderators, then I would question the benefit of slowing the posting of legitimate users. I am not saying I know the correct answer. I don't know what motivates the spammers - how their output is tracked - so it is hard to be confident about what will deter them.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby floris v » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:30 pm

A ten minutes between postings time limit and something like a 100 post count before you lose the newly registered member status would mean that a spammer will always be discovered and banned before he can lose that status, so it would make spamming pointless. If we advertise that policy, they'll probably give up soon enough.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby acknak » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:35 pm

I expect that moderation is the only thing that will stop the spammers: "it takes a thief to catch a thief" and all that.

However, I'm not sure that it's the best approach for routine operations.

Since it's easy to switch on & off, maybe it would be worth a trial run, before we're forced to use it? If it goes smoothly, then we can leave it in place; if it seems to confuse people or cause too much delay, then we can turn it off and save it for "flood control."

At least we'll get some experience with using the moderation tools.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:09 pm

Moderation activated for all forums.
Let's see how it works!
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby acknak » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:00 pm

Hmm... I'm not seeing the moderation for a new user.

I registered a new account and tried to post; it went straight through: viewtopic.php?f=49&t=53334

I looked at the settings, but honestly, the details of configuring phpBB give me a serious headache :crazy: I can't even see where the moderation is set or what the status is.

I'll go back and check the instructions again, but I haven't made any changes--and won't make any--without discussing it here.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby RoryOF » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:33 pm

I tried to register a new account twice, with different User names etc. It wouldn't let me, rejecting the Passwords. I'm largely off air for now, rebuilding my main computer which died (Samsung driver installation broke Ubuntu beyond easy repair) - availing of opportunity to juggle hardware around. When I have the new installation running, I'll try a new user registration, where there are no cookies or remembered passwords.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby acknak » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:40 pm

Ok, all I found so far is this:
... if a user is below this limit they will be a member of the Newly Registered Users group. Permissions may be set on this group much like any other group -- an example use is to place the Newly Registered Users group on the moderation queue for all forums.

but I've no clue how to do that, and I don't have any confidence mucking around changing things.

If it turns out to be a big hassle to set this up (or to restore the previous setup) then maybe we want to hold off.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby floris v » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:03 pm

Open the admin control panel, select Permissions tab, select Forum permissions groups from the left bar - select the Newly registered users group from the list - select all forums - confirm - Select Other tab and make sure that Can post messages without ... (third from the top) is not allowed. Confirm, check for all relevant forums.
I have the Dutch interface, but my, I'm glad that you found it as confounding as I do. I found this infos in the phpbb help forum.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby floris v » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:26 pm

Addendum: you can also select a role from a drop down list, and moderation queue is one of the possible roles.
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby thomasjk » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:03 pm

Looks like the spammers are trying to flood us again. 8 recent posts from memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=54030
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby floris v » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:17 pm

RPG and I are experimenting with the moderator queue. Messages by new members are duly posted in the correct forum but are flagged with a question mark and invisible for non-moderators. The new member is informed that his message has been stored and awaits approval by a moderator. :super:
modqueue.jpg
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Re: Increase of spam - straight to delete instead of quarant

Postby thomasjk » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:07 pm

Looks like progress. :bravo: Its been too easy for these spammers.
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